By now you've come a long way in your journey to securing your desired residency. You've researched programs, scrutinized them at the Residency Showcase, polished cover letters and curriculum vitae (CVs), and anxiously awaited responses from the residency program director (RPD). Now a very important part of the process is on the horizon—the interview!
In this chapter, we will share insights on a number of issues related to residency interviews. First, it's important to note that the style and tone of residency interviews can vary widely. Some programs plan long itineraries (full day); some are short (a couple of hours). Programs may have a very structured interview process or take a more laid-back approach. Some take on a very serious tone when hosting candidates; others seek to make it more light and fun. It may be difficult to predict which personality style the program will display during the interview, so you have to be ready for any of these. This chapter will discuss several universal elements important to interviews so that you can feel confident and prepared during the day.
You should expect to be contacted by a residency program approximately 2 to 4 weeks after the application deadline.
“Programs may contact you by phone. Be sure to update your voicemail greeting so that it sounds professional!”
Mandey M. – Pharmacy Resident, South Carolina
Should a program decline to interview you, they will most likely email or send you a letter with this information. Invitations to interview will either come via email or personal phone call. Be prepared for this type of call during the month of January so you aren't caught off guard when you answer. Also, it is important to ensure that you have a voice mail message that sounds professional. Regardless of how the program contacts you, you should reply as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours. The number of candidates that a program chooses to interview can vary widely, but most will likely interview somewhere between 5 and 10 candidates for each position they offer. Occasionally programs will require a preliminary phone interview to narrow down their applicant pool.
When considering a date to interview, it is important to remember that you are a student first, so you should keep your preceptor informed of your other commitments. If you will be scheduled for an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) during the interview period, you should contact your preceptor in January to let them know that you have applied to residency programs and anticipate needing to take time to attend interviews during the experience. Then, as you receive invitations to interview, keep your preceptor informed and confirm available dates with them prior to scheduling interviews. They may have suggestions regarding which days during the rotation would be better for interviews (e.g., preceptor vacations or days without activities planned). You should also ...